When it comes to interior design, Justina Blakeney doesn’t follow the rules.
Take one look at her work and you’ll see the acclaimed designer, artist and Jungalow founder is one of a kind. Blakeney’s style, described as “jungalicious”—a mixture of jungle, bungalow and bohemian aesthetics—is a reflection of her free spirit.
The key to this unique design style is “unleashing your own personality and creativity into your own space and not being afraid of experimenting and being a little wild,” she says.
Apply these principles to your interior design, and you’ll have a home that not only looks good to you but also improves your quality of life.
“When you feel great and you love the environment you live in, it just allows you to radiate those feelings into other areas of your life,” she says.
Here, Blakeney, a member of the Delta Design Trust, shares her tips on finding inspiration, defining your style and incorporating life-affirming elements into your home.
Find Your Personal Style
Your tastes may not be as clearly defined as Blakeney’s, but there are ways to hone your own aesthetic.
“Close your eyes and meditate on some of your happiest, relaxed, inspired times and remember the colors, feelings and sounds you experienced,” Blakeney says. “Then, try to bring those positive associations into the home.”
Don’t forget that inspiration is all around you. Think of people whose style you admire, and figure out what’s drawing you in. Challenge yourself to make note of what you’re responding to on a daily basis.
“For one week, keep track of things that you see and like—out in the world, on Instagram, on TV—and find common threads between them,” she says. “Not just what you like, but why you like them.”
Flex Your Creative Muscles
Don’t think you’re creative? Blakeney disagrees.
“I reject the idea that there are people who are not creative,” she says. “We make creative decisions every day—like deciding what shoes to put on in the morning, or what to cook for dinner, or what car to buy. All of those are creative decisions we make. We curate our lives through these decisions, and really it’s about owning the decisions as creative ones. The more you practice making decisions and thinking of them as creative ones, the more you can step into feeling creative.”
Go Outside (You Don’t Have to Go Far)
“I do find that inspiration strikes more when I am out in the wild,” she says. “The things you are seeing, feeling and hearing can impact the outcome of a design.”
Blakeney, a Los Angeles resident, has used her hometown as inspiration. In her own space, she has added tiles with hand-painted egrets on them for a touch of nature.
“Since we live near the Los Angeles River and see egrets flying by every morning,” she says, “these tiles are a cool representation of what we see in our neighborhood.”
Broaden Your Horizons
If you can, take a trip and explore new destinations.
“I feel the most inspired when I am traveling and enter environments that make me feel most connected to nature,” Blakeney says. “Recent trips to Morocco, Mexico and Santa Fe have all fueled my imagination.”
Blakeney often goes back to pictures and notes from her visit to the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe for inspiration on home décor.
Incorporate Natural Elements
“I draw a lot of inspiration from water, because it is essential to life. Water acts as a cleanser and symbolizes flow. Having moving water in the home is good feng shui,” she says. “I love connecting with water in the home by incorporating open showers in my designs.”
Make Little Changes
There are many ways to make meaningful design improvements without investing any more time, energy and money than you’re comfortable with.
“Painting an accent wall or an entire room is a great way to give your home a design refresh. Layering in some colorful or textural textiles is also a great way to change up a space—either through drapes, a throw on the sofa or a vintage quilt on your bed,” she says. “Another easy but impactful design change is switching out a shower head or a light fixture to get a different vibe in your home.”
Do Your Own Thing
Don’t stress about conventional thinking when it comes to interior design. Want to mix finishes in your bathroom and kitchen? If you like it, go for it, Blakeney says. After all, the design of your home should make you feel good.
“It should be about things that make people’s lives better,” she says. “If not, then what’s the point?”
For more interior design insights from Justina Blakeney and other members of the Delta Design Trust, visit DeltaDesignTrust.com.